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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  August 7, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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interview, chloe. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> i appreciate it. and that will do it for me here in new york city. i'm brooke baldwin. let's go to washington and jake tapper. "the lead" starts right now. >> thanks, brooke. rick gates stealing from paul manafort as paul manafort allegedly stealing from taxpayers. president trump hires the best people. cool. "the lead" starts right now. describing a sleazy scheme. socking away cash overseas from those friendly to the russian regime as two of the top campaign aides clash in court. and as one senior trump campaign official confesses to crimes on the stand, president trump's lawyers haggle with robert mueller over what president trump will not talk about face to face. the latest today on the talks over the big talk. plus, it is now the largest wildfire in the history of california. and it may continue to burn for the rest of the month.
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the battle to save lives as president trump sends a tweet about the fire that baffles even his own staff about the cause of it all. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. in the politics lead, rick gates, former number two on the trump campaign grilled right now about the plea deal by defense attorneys for former trump campaign chair paul manafort. gates describing today in vivid detail of he says manafort engineered an elaborate scheme to avoid taxes. prosecutors say manafort's own e-mails show him directing the money to multiple offshore accounts. now, although conspireing with russia on the 2016 election is not officially on the docket, the sub text of it is looming over the trial. gates says that manafort gave some control over a bank account in cyprus of a man of a
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suspected russian intelligence officer who earlier this summer indicted as part of the mueller investigation and manafort's own accountant says that russian millionaire loaned manafort $10 million back in 2006, a loan never apparently repaid. cnn is outside the courtroom for us right now in northern virginia. cara, gates is cross-examined by the defense. already there's been an explosive moment involving manafort and money and an alleged affair? >> that's right, jake. about 45 minutes into cross-examination here, manafort's attorney come out swinging, either bringing up sku discussions of gates stealing money and to fund the secret life of rick gates for a flat in london and european trips that gates was allegedly having with his mistress.
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gates admitted another relationship about ten years ago but now the two are sparring over what the source of that funding was. gates maintaining that it came from his bonus pool or from his personal accounts. but manafort's attorney is saying, no, this money came from the cyprus accounts, stolen from manafort and in a back and forth on that and an interesting development is alleging that gates stolen money from the inauguration fund saying filing for personal expenses paid by the inauguration. they haven't really fleshed that out. we don't know if he has anything to back it up but another way to try to discredit gates to try to attack his credibility and going through how he was part of the scheme and helped manafort pull it off and on cross-examination the attorney hammering him with telling the special counsel's office this or that in meetings and gates saying he doesn't recall, jake. >> all right. thank you so much. on the stand today, gates laid out paul manafort's many
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money troubles and saying manafort was broke joining the trump campaign in 2016. jim schutto picks up the coverage. >> reporter: tonight, star witness rick gates back on the stand. gates detailing how broke paul manafort was when he joined the trump campaign in march 2016 and then worked for no salary. gates testifying that manafort's consulting firm had no clients then and they were at the time trying to secure another political consulting contract in ukraine. but had not been able to. in a 2015 e-mail exchange, manafort was clearly frustrated. wtf, manafort wrote to gates. how could i be blindsided like this, manafort said? this after lerveiarning that ta were higher than anticipated and gaetds supplied false information to banks to help manafort secure bank loans. until then, according to gates manafort was making $5 million
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up until 2012 for consulting work for a ukrainian billionaire. gates went into detail about how shell companies were used to move money into hidden accounts in cyprus. in one instance, according to gates, a payment supported lobbying in the united states. gates stated that manafort reported some of the payments to u.s. tax officials as loans. though they were, in fact, income. adding that manafort was, quote, trying to decrease his taxable income. prosecutors demonstrated that manafort directed these activities through e-mails. there were hundreds of these gates said in court. adding, quote, typical prak us the wiz mr. manafort to send me a list of wire requests. gates admitted that he used information provided by manafort to create invoices or fake amounts of money for wire transfers but the money never actually went to the vendors. instead, it went to the banks. the purpose of this, according to gates, so that the wire
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transfers would not be recorded on u.s. business records. nonetheless, on monday the prosecutors elicited testimony from mr. gates and from one of mr. manafort's accountants that tied manafort more closely to russia. the accountant cindy laporte testified mr. manafort received a $10 million of deripaska, a russian oligarch close to president vladimir putin. she said she saw no evidence the loan was ever repaid. >> our thanks to jim for that report. let's talk about this with the experts. michael, let's start with you. the case is not directly about 2016 election and any alleged russian conspiracy with any americans and in fact the prosecution said they're not going to introduce evidence about that. and yet, we keep hearing about these politicians in russia that have ties to putin, deripaska,
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there's the other klemmnick and alleged to be russian intelligence. i know the judge slaps the prosecutor for introducing it. what do you think they are doing there? >> i don't think they're trying to directly introduce this evidence but it's relevant to understand how manafort was behaving. who he owed money to, who he was, you know, the subordinate of as an intelligence matter because i think he joined the campaign in part because of this debt they had to russians, as a way to reingratiate himself with them. this stuff is on the fringes of what they're talking about but the heart of the case is tax fraud and bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy. >> what do you make of this, introducing the stuff that makes it sure sound like paul manafort had a lot of ties to and owed a lot to people with strong ties to vladimir putin? >> yeah. i mean, you know, in a strange
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way the topic is not helpful for president trump at all but in a strange way this trial and what they're talking about i think strangely is. because what's pretty clear is mueller and the team through the underwear drawer of paul manafort and rick gates and know what's there and brought a whole host of charges and looks like they have a locked down case. what's not introduced is any sort of collusion piece that would suggest that any transfer of funds given to paul manafort for any kind of collusion with the russian government and the trump campaign and the core of what we are getting at with the mueller investigation. you know, i think in a weird, strange round about way it's helpful. >> there's a great and interesting story in "the washington post" after joining the campaign manafort sent a message to an employees in kiev about his rising profile and new credibility because he had joined the trump campaign and he asked, quote, how do we use it
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to get whole with deripaska to whom he owed $10 million? a spokesman said it was about debts but trying to capitalize on the new role. what does it say to you? >> says to me he was trying to use this campaign job, the trump gave him as a way to make more money, to get out of debt. that said, like josh said, this actually case itself, what i have heard so far doesn't tell us much about collusion in the 2016 election. we have not gotten there yet. we are not going to get there. that said, trump campaign manager found guilty will not be particularly good headline for the president. >> yeah. i think that last point perry made is really important because obviously what will happen as manafort is probably headed on the road to conviction an lead to headlines saying trump campaign, as you said, manager convicted as well as deputy campaign manager convicted.
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>> chairman. >> chairman. people paying attention may see a witch hunt, a trial, a guy named manafort and a clear headline that will give mueller more credibility i think in the public eye. maybe not among his core supporters but certainly people waivering in the middle. you never know. it may for people who have involvement lead them to come forward with more information so this is just the beginning. it is important to draw a connection between manafort and his -- what he owes, the financial ties because this is about the money. a russian puppet that's -- >> that's who he worked for. >> exactly. that's also important for people to know. >> michael, it's interesting. this is the prosecution's case right now. the defense is going do get a whack at it, as well. one assumes they're not going to rest and have to present a case. would you recommend that paul manafort testify? is that something that you as an attorney if you worked for paul
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manafort would want him to do or do you think it's too risky? >> you have to see how the cross-examination of gates goes. what the defense is trying to do here is say, gates is still a liar. he pled guilty to lying. he cheated on his wife. he is a bad actor. and you can't believe anything he says. if they feel that they have established that, then maybe don't put on a defense and argue reasonable doubt to the jury. if it doesn't go that way, they have to make a tough decision about manafort. i think he's vulnerable for cross-examination because the documentary evidence here so overwhelmingly shows his hand in the direction of this whole scheme. and you can't put your client at that risk. but they've really, you know, shot the moon here in not pled pleading to the case in the first instance. depends on the cross-examination. >> jen, manafort's accountant
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testified and you had the testimony of gates, as well, about russian billionaire deripaska loaning manafort $10 million in 2006 and we know in 2016 manafort according to "the washington post" offered a private briefing to deripaska on the state of the race. also, this interesting stuff about the guy indicted by mueller. and having some control over one of manafort's accounts in cyprus. >> right. never going to be that president putin having conference calls with manafort. right? probably going to be an oligarch, somebody with money, close ties to putin, the government doesn't work there like it does work here. all the ties. what is interesting here is i think anybody could have told you that manafort was a corrupt guy with ties to questionable governments before he was hired by the trump team. >> that wasn't exactly new. >> that wasn't exactly new. not surprising. i was joking with josh and
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probably wasn't the rising star of the republican party either. so the fact that he was hired by the trump team with these russian ties is also something that should raise questions and google. you didn't need a big investigation to know that. >> yeah. it was an odd pick. >> we wrote about it at the time. if the case is no collusion, whatever how we define collusion, but i think we are getting closer and closer to overall the entirety of the information we know now suggests not a lot of innocent meetings with russians and substantial and the treat ovweet over the w we're close to collusion and what was the collusion and the extent of it and did donald trump know about it? >> what was the island? i think we have to be careful to separate because what we're seeing right now, no question. paul manafort. he is a bad guy. right? rick gates. seems to me like he did a lot of bad stuff. but that is not proof that
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donald trump has anything other than some questionable hiring practices in the campaign. we know that donald trump ran an unconventional campaign and an unconventional white house. >> kind word for it. >> generous. >> unconventional. such a sweetheart. a consequential decision of president trump, whether to sit for an interview with bob mueller and the repons to the worst wildfires in the state of california. white house aides have a difficult time explaining it. stay with us. but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. and something amazing happens. that's our inspiration for fancy feast medleys. wild salmon primavera. tastes amazing. also in pate.
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and today can save your life. ♪ ♪ we are back with a politics lead. the latest chess move in the ongoing negotiations over a potential interview between president trump and robert mueller. rudy giuliani said he plans to send a letter as soon as today response to the offer of questions of possible obstruction of justice.
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giuliani said, quote, we have a real reluctance of questions of obstruction. cnn's jeff zeleny picks up the coverage of new jersey where the president is staying at the golf resort bedminster. >> reporter: one of the hottest questions of the summer. will president trump sit for an interview with special could ns mueller? they're closer with an exception. rudy giuliani telling "washington post," we have a real reluctance of questions of obstruction. the president's lawyers made clear their concerns about mr. trump sitting for a face to face interview. >> he's always been interested in testifying. it is us, the team of lawyers including me, that have the most reservations about that. >> reporter: if they have left open the possibility the president will override the objections. >> the president may decide at the end to not take his lawyers' advice. that's up to him. he's the president. he makes that decision.
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>> reporter: he's also getting input from others during his working vacation at his golf resort in new jersey. including dinner with right wing media friends and south carolina senator lindsey graham. >> this is an interesting dinner. melania was there and it's a good dinner. sean hannity and mark levin and me. really interesting dinner. >> reporter: many friends warn against talking to mueller. >> my political advice to the president not to sit down with bob mueller. >> reporter: yet the president repeatedly says he wants to. >> i would love to speak. i would love to. nobody wantings to speak more than me. >> reporter: so if the president does refuse that interview the question is, is bob mueller going to subpoena the president? of course, that would be without precedent. it could go to the supreme court. the only real historical precedence from the watergate era, of course. that's secret recordings of the white house, not a presidential testimony or interview from a special counsel here. so we'll see by the end of the
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working vacation if the answer to the question is no, will the president sit down or not? jake? >> all right. jeff zeleny with the president in new jersey. thank you so much. let's talk about this with the experts. michael, you said in the last block were you advising paul manafort you would not have him testify. he's too vulnerable. what about if you're working for president trump? who wants to talk according to his public pronouncements. who says he has pn't done anythg wrong. >> purely as a lawyer, i would say, don't talk to mueller. it's too dangerous. you don't have a good enough command of the facts. you lie and therefore it's unsafe. but it's a political case, too. and it's not that easy as a lawyer to say to a political client don't talk because it looks like you're hiding something so what i think they'll try to do is negotiate like bill clinton did some type of interview on prescribed
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topics for prescribed period of time. perhaps like with reagan, some in writing and some orally. i think that in the end they have a hard time keeping him out of a conversation with bob mueller. >> does this become politically difficult if it does go before the house of representatives? let's say in this game of theoreticals democrats win back the house and some report -- it goes to the house and something for house members to vote on. does it become more difficult for republicans to defend a vote in favor of the president if the president has refused to testify or does it matter? >> i don't think it matters in this environment. i mean, he -- if there's no precedent, except for watergate as jeff zeleny just said, living by a different set of rules relating to what republicans will and won't defend so i don't think it matters for those purposes. i think the risk politically even with him testifying and perjuring himself and caught in
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lies but under oath is worse. >> alan dershowitz defended the president on the charges has said that it's not per se a perjury trap, the idea to be lying. it's the idea that he might say something that is in contradiction to someone else's memory and accused of perjury. does that hold water you think? >> seems polite. the president gives speeches saying inaccurate things regularly. the odds of saying something false is pretty high. i would question the premise. he's saying he wants to talk since december. if donald trump wanted to talk to mueller, he would do it already. i think he might want to say i want to talk and not want to talk. >> what's interesting, josh, is even some defenders of the president are starting to get a little soft i think in terms of what might have happened. take a listen to fox news own andrew napolitano and talking
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about the case and whether there's a potential crime that occurred. >> if there's an agreement to receive dirt on hillary from the russians, if those agreed at least one took a step then there's the potential crime for conspiracy. >> he went on to say that doesn't involve president trump. but since he says he doesn't know about the meeting. here you have people normally sympathetic voices to the president talking about, hey, might be something here. >> i think he's providing the legal analysis here. i think if we take a step back and look at the calculations that go towards whether he speaks with mueller or the team or not, i think not just a calculus on behalf of the president and the mueller team has one to make, too, here because if you are to focus your investigation or your interview entirely on obstruction or false statements, at this point without proving under any circumstance the underlying case that gave rise to this, being
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russian collusion, you are in risky political territory and not suggesting you don't follow the law where it leads even to the oval office. i believe you should. however, there's a political risk here that you run when you bring an obstruction case, a case that is just about the invest, not about the underlying facts but just about the investigation to the american public. >> is that what happened with bill clinton? bill clinton committed perjury. >> look what happened. right? huge public backlash. >> isn't an interview about obstruction, as well, or -- >> obstruction of justice. >> right. >> two parts, the firing comey being one part which is that which executive privilege covers the most with advice. then there's the obstruction of justice, the flynn firing. >> telling comey to lay off of flynn. >> yeah. asking burr to develop the investigation, asking the intelligence people to ask the fbi. there's that. there's the collusion. there are three parts to this thing. all has to be played out. >> stick around. next, the candidate president
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trump is backing in a very important primary race tonight who actually has a support of democrats, as well, in a way. stay with us. sfx: [cell phone dialing] no. no, no, no, no, no. cancel. cancel. please. aaagh! being in the know is a good thing. that's why discover will alert you if your social security number is found on any one of thousands of risky sites. and it's also a story mail aabout people and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you we really pride ourselves on making it easy for you >> tech: at safelite autoglass, to get your windshield fixed. with safelite, you can see exactly when we'll be there.
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congressional district at the polls right now in a special election but this congressional race isn't even supposed to be close. it's a district that trump won by 11 points in 2016. it's one that hasn't had a democrat representing it in decades. but cnn's ryan nobles explains why republicans are today scrambling to keep this trump stronghold. >> reporter: voters casting ballots tuesday in five different states and president trump is inserting himself directly into the two biggest contests on the map. >> we must elect troy balderson. >> reporter: republicans have held the seat in ohio's 12th congressional district more than three decades but this special election is surprisingly close. the state's governor john kasich who once held this seat blames the president for the tight race. but the gop candidate troy balderson has embraced trump support. >> it's brought so much enthusiasm out to have both the
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vice president of the united states and the president of the united states here within six days of each other. it's just huge. >> reporter: the democrat danny o'connor has avoided the topic of trump. >> that's the russia investigation? robert mueller? >> barely ever comes up. >> reporter: the president's decision to go all in on a republican rescue mission in ohio's special election is a winning streak of sorts in the primaries. since june, he's picked winning candidates in 12 straight gop primary contests. a rally that could be at risk in kansas. that is where the president broke with many in his party tweeting his support of chris kobach challenging the governor. >> at the end of the day he went with his gut and president trump's gut is almost always exactly spot on. >> reporter: he failed to come up with the significant evidence of the widespread abuse of trump claimed. if he's the nominee, democrats believe it opens the door for
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them to take control of the kansas governorship first time since 2011. both sides attempt to glean a broader message from the elections and primaries in august are much different than general elections in november. and the candidates in these races believe local issues are what will determine the winners and losers. >> what's at stake cannot be understated. >> this is what matters. 12th congressional district. that's who i'm running for. >> reporter: the looming presence of the national political conversation is inescapable and bound to resonate beyond central ohio. despite the national attention this race is getting there is a very local issue that could have a big impact tonight. last night during a rally troy balderson said, quote, we don't want someone from franklin county representing us. danny o'connor is from franklin
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county. it is a significant swath of voters impacted and democrats are targeting the voters making sure they heard what balderson had to say. they're hoping in a very close race this could be the difference between who wins and loses tonight. jake? >> all right. ryan, thanks so much. let's talk about this. okay. so this is a district trump won by 11 points. democrat not represented it in literally more than three decades. this is john kasich's old seat. why is it competitive? >> there's no more difficult task for a party in power to get the voters out in the middle of august two and a half months before a midterm. you have discrepancies in voter enthusiasm no matter what. you have huge discrepancies in the middle of a traditional vacation month and the member would serve for basically 30 days so describing how that's kra really live or die to a voter is
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difficult and a problem seeing in the race. you know? the other thing is you know democrats are coming. right? we know we have the evidence in pennsylvania. you have the evidence in alabama and virginia and all the things over the last year and a half. there's no question about the enthusiasm of democratic voters showing up. the question is whether the republicans match it. this is close because it's middle of august, difficult to match. >> yet the republican voter registration is much higher than the democratic voter registration. you have to think that balderson the republican has an advantage going into it. >> certainly. while the polls have been kind of closing and looking slightly more favorable to the democrat as we have gotten closer to election day, it is a race that favors the republican. the makeup of the district is affluent suburban district an you have seen big swings, big dropoffs from trump's numbers in places like pennsylvania where voters typically voted democratic but swung to trump and then swung back in these specials, this is sort of
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traditional republican territory. so the question really is, are traditional republican voters who have a habit of turning out, will their turnout pattern match that of the democrats or exceed that of the democrats seeing the surge of enthusiasm with low propensity voters. >> you heard of balderson badmouthing franklin county. it's where there are a number of people who might have voted for trump and might actually not like trump anymore. white women voters highly educated, suburban voters, that sort. >> right. to win a special election or any election you need more votes. the democrat to use this, o'connor can use it to get people out and proud of their place they're from then perhaps he could swing it. ultimately the problem republicans have at a national level here is that they spent a lot more money on this race in this district. no doubt it's a race they should
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win and if they don't win or come close they have to look at the resources for the next two and a half months and try to figure out what to do. this is a race to win. there are a lot more competitive races than this. >> perry, i want to ask you about chris kovach running for governor and republicans nationally fearful president trump was going to endorse him as a big trump supporter, part of the voter commission, the vote fraud commission thing they formed the try to find a way to make it true that 3 million to 5 million illegal votes for hillary clinton happened but they didn't prove it because it didn't happen and then president trump endorsed him. democrats were excited about that. why? >> so he was trump before trump was. he's hawkish on immigration. also trump being told not to do something like of course he did it. not surprised. he ignores the political advice and a republican state and still probably win but he is a much
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more controversial figure even in conservative kansas and the democrats think it's a more chance to win this state over brown and fairly unpopular in kansas and i think makes a more winnable race for the democrats and still think kobach has the advantage. >> this is an obviously pattern with president trump. the party advised him stay out of the primary. and then he's involved in the florida governor's race. primary race. picked a congressman over the front-runner and in georgia endorsed kemp for governor and won. south carolina obviously against mark sanford and he lost the seat in the process. why do you think he does this? how frustrating is this for the establishment? >> i'll be honest. i don't think they're actually is a whole lot of evidence that he has been totally unconventional in this area. talking about a few where there's been disagreement in the party of who to endorse and the
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vast majority of races and he's pretty much endorsed who the republican party would want him to endorse. >> kobach. >> that's the riskiest endorsement to date. in florida he has momentum. this is somebody that -- >> because of trump. doesn't he have the momentum because of trump? >> potentially. the campaign was working anyway. my point is he's not going out and taking on a freight train here. i mean, he's endorsed a candidate that looks like they're going to win in almost every one of the races. >> there have been times where he has taken advice from the political class in a way that's -- >> luther strange. >> -- surprised me. criticized trump over the "access hollywood" tape. wound up getting primaried. having to go to a run-off and then trump sort of forgave and endorsed her and she made it
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through safely and there have been moments. >> i was just going do say that's a really good point and not talking about tuesday is the missouri primary for senate. right? which is the president very quickly put together, you know, the entire political apparatus of josh holly. >> right. >> a ton of those stories around the country that he's actually played a constructive -- >> last week, trump did not endorse and endorsing people probably going to win anyway. that's smart, good. >> all right. stick around. next, the moral argument to impeach the president, vice president pence disagrees mike pence on the matter. what am i talking about? stay with us. there's a lot to love about medicare.
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we're back with the politics lead and a call for higher moral standards for the president of the united states. the charge reads, quote, if you and i fall into bad moral habits we harm our families, employers and friends. president of the united states can incinerate the planet. unquote. that's not from a critic of president trump but from vice president mike pence and talking in 1999 about then president bill clinton. this was all discovered in k-file. when the person with questionable morals is donald trump, apparently pence is more forgiving. here he is days after the "access hollywood" tape dropped in 2016. >> the donald trump that i have come to know that my family has come to know and spent considerable amount of time with is someone who has a long record of not only, you know, loving his family, lifting his family up, but employing and promoting women in positions of authority
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in his company. >> but again, let's talk about this with the experts. this was a very, very strong moral stand by someone that's devout and serious about his faith. we can harm our families, employers and friends. the president of the united states, if he falls in bad moral habits he can incinerate the planet. >> called for him to resign or be removed from office. >> bill clinton. >> bill clinton, yes. the internet can be inconvenient. this is the right time to remind people if he was not the running mate for president trump he would have probably lost re-election and no political future. this is a guy desperate to be in the good graces, he's had to be loyal to him because he's his vice president and obviously put his own moral compass to the side in the process. >> in 1998, pence said, quote, in a day when reckless sexual activity is manifesting on the staggering rates of divorce now more than ever america needs to look to her first family as role
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models writing about bill clinton. i think it gets at something in the culture which is very devout christians conservative kind of willing to look away from donald trump's personal life. >> this is shown up in the polls. about once a month or so a study coming out taking a look at attitudes on something like extramarital affairs or moral behaviors condemned by the evangelical leaders and you have seen this shift, this pretty wild shift in the last year and a half, two years of the evangelical community writ large and especially those leetdeader used to say it's wrong but i excuse it. it's a difference of younger evangelicals and those leaders who have been more flexible. >> older ones? >> younger evangelicals view the faith and what they expect out of leaders in a different way and this is something that's shown up in poll after poll,
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this sort of flexibility. >> cnn spoke with voters who voted for trump in 2016. take a listen to one woman's view of him now. >> i worked with a hot of hispanic evan gel kaels that are pro life. caring about family, jobs, faith and education. top for us. president trump delivering on those things. this rhetoric of he tweeted this or he does this, i don't care about that. >> is that where we are? about actions. >> josh will know neil gorsuch. brett kavanaugh. they have rewarded trump governing in a way i didn't expect. more conservative on policy on like issues of abortion and 2016 trump campaign is moderate. governed in a conservative way and mike pence is not as loyal to trump and arguably the most loyal vice president i can remember. there's been very little,
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considering how much trump bungled, i can't think off the record he objected to. i think if it's a mike pence's policies enacted by donald trump mike pence is not president. >> and i mean, just to remind our viewers, this is a president who's now lied about a payment to a porn star for an alleged affair, there's a whole other scandal involving the 1998 playboy playmate of the year karen mcdougall. are we in a period now where the conduct of a president's personal life, talk about democrats presidents at another time i suppose, doesn't matter anymore for people whom religion is very important? >> two observations to make. one, i think what we found out in late '90s and the american people have not a lot of tolerance for moralizing. what they care much more for is what happens. and what a president is actually doing. and with bill clinton in the late '90s you saw republicans take a bath as a result of
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moralizing with him and with democrats you see perhaps something similar happening with those core conservative voters. second observations is with the voerts, these are not flippant voters. they're -- they have core convictions. they vote on issues and for time and time again, they have been told a lot of stories about things that don't happen. and what they're watching with this president -- >> what do you mean by that? >> people pro life or they're -- you know, marriage or pro life, core to that constituency, they believe they have been told a lot of stories by politicians that have not come to fruition and watched with this president in the year and a half is govern more conservatively than any republican president before them so they're not looking for a perfect messenger. they're looking for somebody with results in the policy realm and what they vote for and i think perfectly articulated by that segment there. >> let me ask you to put the
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shoe on the other foot. are evangelical voters not just what feminist voters were in the late '90s, vote for what they do and not the personal life? any feminist looks at bill clinton life, personal life, find a lot that's wanting. >> look. i think that's an interesting comparison. i'm wrapping my head around it. >> they're more happy, focused on what president clinton or president trump are doing for them and less focused on the personal life. >> a point that i agree with actually, people decide what they care most about and put to the side and rarely a perfect politician, no matter what your interest is or what issue you care about. so in this case, that may be it. look. i think i have an issue with feminist perhaps universally voting for bill clinton just as i have an issue with evangelicals voting for donald trump because saying your biggest issues are moral issues and a devout follower of jesus
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then how can you follow this guy? and, you know, i think you can make the same argument fairly of people following a guy who had an affair with an intern. it's fair but i think we're in the present day and there's a conflict, like a conflicting morality issue with evangelicals i can't get myself orr. >> what would mike pence make of this? >> his comment in 1999 versus now? i mean, in public to list donald trump's policy -- >> no, no. sodium pentathol. he was talking about the porngs of a preside importance of a president leading a moral christian life. >> delivering on policy. >> okay. >> a "snl" skit in the room with his wife saying one day that guy will be out and i'll be in and i
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will have been loyal. >> that, too. >> stick around. we're following breaking news in california where the state's largest wildfire ever exploding in size. can explain what president trump is trying to stay about it? a l, it really- it rocked our world. i had no idea the amount of damage that water could do. we called usaa. and they greeted me as they always do. sergeant baker, how are you? they were on it. it was unbelievable. having insurance is something everyone needs, but having usaa- now that's a privilege. we're the baker's and we're usaa members for life. usaa. get your insurance quote today. today's senior living communities have never been better,
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17 major wildfires roaring through the state of california including the largest wildfire in the state's history. firefighters there are battling flames about the size of the city of los angeles. just that one fire has grown more than 80% in 3 days. president trump tweeting environmental laws making the fires worse and when asked white house staffers cannot clarify
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what that means because they're not sure what he's talking about and experts say the president's way off. stephanie elam is on the ground for us in california. >> reporter: cataclysmic wildfires breaking records. the mendocino complex fire charring almost 300,000 acres, the largest wildfire in state history. so far, it's scorched an area larger than all of new york city's five boroughs put together. another fire erupting monday in orange and riverside counties, the holy fire has already burned over 4,000 acres. across the golden state, 17 large fires are raging as more than 14,000 firefighters battle the fast-moving flames. that are spurred on by dry and windy conditions. president trump assigning blame monday linking the long-running water coverage to the intensity
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and spread of fires tweeting california wildfires made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amounts of water to be utilized. also incorrect bring suggesting that california diverts water to the pacific ocean saying governor brown must allow the free flow of the vast amounts of water from the north and being diverted into the pacific ocean. but cal fire, the agency in charge of fighting the fires, rebuking the claims in a statement saying there's nothing to release. there's no specifics to the tweet. we have plenty of water to fight the fires. the current weather is causing more severe and destructive fires. white house officials declined to clarify the statements but for the people the concern is less political and far more personal. >> working as best we can with the resources that we have to manage this. but mother nature's taking its
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course and we have needed to adapt to it. >> our thanks to stephanie elam for that report. follow me on facebook or twitter. our coverage continues now with wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. the motive. rick gates testifies he spent years transferring money through offshore accounts and getting fraudulent bank loans for his boss manafort and said by the time they joined the trump campaign, the firm had no clients and no money. can defense lawyers shake his testimony? tax fraud? president trump's former lawyer and fixer michael cohen is reportedly under investigation for tax fraud. could this put more pressure on cohen to cooperate with prosecutors?